The Airhead Watersports Airhead G-Force 3 and O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable 70-Inch Tow Tubes are two of my families favorite water sports biscuits. During the summer months, we love to take our Seadoo jetski to the lakes to have some extreme fun pulling the tow tubes with our Jetski and sometimes a speedboat with our friends.
I am often asked which one I like the best between the Airhead vs O’Brien towable tubes. I will always say the Airhead. The reasons for this will be explained in this full review of both inflatable rafts made for extreme sports. These are not the typical inflatables used for lounging or slow-moving fun — you’re using these biscuits to get a thrill-seeking adventure!
I ventured into extreme water sports by accident recently by purchasing my 2012 Seadoo Jetski, I wanted a watercraft designed for both solo and family fun. There are a number of fun activities that can be done with a jetski from cruising, wave jumping, water skiing, wakeboarding and tow tubing with an inflatable biscuit. It’s fun for the whole family and you don’t need a very powerful boat or Jetski to pull a tube.
Our friends with the Malibu Wakesetter speedboat have 3 young children under 7 and so have one of the slower inflatable Bananas. At first, this was fun for our smaller kids but as they grew up they wanted something a little bit faster. More on that Banana boat inflatable tube later.
The common recommendation that I’ve gotten for stable fast inflatable tubes were, namely the Airhead Watersports Airhead G-Force and O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable 70-inch Tow Tube. Like most boards in the sport, the traditional round biscuit is shorter as its job is to support the user’s chest instead of their whole body. Although my initial reactions to the overall activity was a little anxious (yet very excited), I was pretty glad that both blowup tubes were dependable enough to dangle from a jet ski.
Was it like the banana boat experience? No way, not even close, much more daring. I’m pretty floored by the results I got from both. However, there are notable differences between the O’Brien and Airhead inflatables. I’ve written a comprehensible review between the two so you could compare which one works the best for you.
Similarities & Differences
- Inflatable– both boards can be easily inflated and deflated at will, making them easy to store and transport
- Have one-year limited warranty
- Special connectivity- each board has its own patented technology to ensure that the inflatable water tube biscuit can be safely connected to the wake boat or jet ski. The Airhead Watersports G-Force has the Kwik-Connect, a one-inch diameter hole that can handle 6,000 lbs of break-strength tube ropes. The O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable 70-inch Tow Tube has its own version, the Quick Connect. Both do the same job and can take any water sports rope rated for the number of people you are towing.
- Ergonomic features– to ensure you get the most out of your experience—safely.
- Can support multiple riders- The Airhead Watersports Airhead G-Force can support a maximum of three riders, while the O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable 70-Inch Tow Tube can support two officially but with 6 handles we can get 3 kids onboard no problem.
- Material- The O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable is only made of two materials: PVC and nylon. The Airhead Watersports Airhead G-Force has three: PVC, nylon, and neoprene. Airhead Watersports uses neoprene for their knuckle guards, with nylon as covering for their handles. Nice and soft. Great for kids and Adults.
- Types of the valve– The O’Brien and Airhead Watersports have different valves. O’Brien employs the Boston valve for their inflatable, while Airhead Watersports use their own valve—the patented Speed Safety Valve. So don’t lose these valves.
We use the cordless 18v Ryobi air pump to inflate the biscuit because I have the whole range of 18v one plus Ryobi tools. I have noticed a lot of people using the Intex Quick-Fill rechargeable pump. Does the same job and cheaper. Having rechargeable batteries means you don’t need to find a portable 110v or 12v socket to use some other types of air pumps.
Product Details and Specifications
These 3 Person Towable Tubes, the Airhead Watersports Airhead G-Force, and the O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable 70-inch biscuit have the following product specifications:
Which 3-person tube do I like better:
The Airhead 3 person biscuit tube is my favorite. We actually brought each one to test out last summer and we have been very impressed with the Airhead.
The Airhead Watersports Airhead G-Force is basically a heavy-duty inflatable board. What differs it from the usual inflatables is the orifice at which you plug in your air pumps. The G-Force refers to it as the Speed Safety Valve. The part is patented and is designed for easy inflating and deflating. Aside from the easy set-up, the valve also gets shut tight and can be pushed a bit into the board, making sure there’s no stray plastic protruding at the side. This makes it a lot safer as I don’t have to worry if the momentum of the water will knock off the valve and cause the board to deflate.
This is our Seadoo pulling the Airhead G-force 3 on a hot summers day.
The Airhead also is double stitched in most core areas and the bladder is removable if there is a leak to be fixed.
Due to it being easy to inflate and deflate, I found it quite easy to store. Most inflatables are a bit of a chore to store in my personal experience. The plastic material ends up sticking to each other as I unfold said inflatable, causing it to be a bit messy when it’s time to use it again. The G-Force takes care of this problem as it’s coated in tough denier nylon. When it’s deflated, the internals will go totally flat. When you need to whip out the board another time, you just fold it all out and inflate. No need to remove the inflatable insert.
One of the biggest things I admire about the Airhead G-Force is the attention to detail the manufacturers have done with it. A lot of the complexities of the water sport are considered—stabilizer fins are added to prevent the effects of centrifugal force, nylon-wrapped handles with neoprene knuckle guards to give you a better grip, and Airhead’s Kwik-Connect ensures you remain connected to the jet ski.
Although the O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable 70-Inch Tow Tube is also designed with good intentions, I prefer Airhead Watersports’ design. I find myself to grip the handles better due to the nylon-wrapped handles. The O’Brien board is fun, but I tend to fall faster with it than I do on the Airhead Watersports one.
Both boards give you one less thing to worry about when you’re dangling at the end of a jet ski. The only thrill I ever get when I’m using the board is that from the adventure, and not from the anxiety of a failing board!
Can be used solo or with a group
You don’t need to go through extreme water sports alone— the right company will make the boat trip much more memorable. The Airhead G-Force and O’Brien Super Scream Inflatable 70-inch Tow Tube are quite large and can fit multiple people. This makes either board a worthy investment if you’re buying it for a family of thrill seekers, or if you want to try it out with your friends.
Quick History Lesson on Airhead
Airhead sports group are the manufactures of Airhead, Sportsstuff, Yukon Charlie’s, Airhead SUP and Dry Pak. With their design and manufacturing minutes from the Rocky Mountains in Denver, Colorado they have over 26 years of water sports know how. That’s what I’m a big fan of supporting the local American companies. These tow tubes are built tough.
However, there are differences in the maximum capacity of each board.
It’s important to acknowledge that the limit of each board depends on the athleticism and build of each rider. This makes a board’s maximum capacity a variable number.
I found the Airhead Watersports Airhead G-Force better for group activities as it can hold up to 3 people. It helps that it has a larger surface area than the O-Brian inflatable, which makes it more able to hold the load three people can bring. The O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable was quite large, but it’s more suited to 3 children or 2 adults.
Between the two, I like O’Brien’s clean print design over the Airhead G-Force. But at the end of the day who cares what the color is as long as it goes fast and is stable.
Accessories you will need for these 3 Person Towable Tubes
Two of the most important accessories you will need is a sportsstuff tow rope and a quick connect fitting. Make sure the towable rope is strong enough for the number of people you will be towing. 3 or 4 person boat tow ropes are usually 4000+ pounds of breaking strain and come in 60-foot lengths.
Quick Connect Fittings for tow tubes
These quick connect fitting are attached to the back of your Jetski or boat and make changing your different ropes quick and fast out on the water. This is so you can say go back to a thinner wake or ski rope. It will literally take like 5 seconds for a ski rope change using these short quick connects. I definitely recommend them.
How to Pump up your Inflatable Biscuit
To Inflate either use a handpump or a battery operated high volume pump. We use a Ryobi 18v Air compressor that can do high volume as well as high pressure. That way we have air for our boat trailer tires as well if they go flat.
- Open the safety valve and plug in your air pump hose securely.
- Pump the air into the inflatable until it reaches the desired volume, or when the raft is taut. I like to test the correct pressure by using the palm of my hand to see how far I can push down. You should only be able to push down less than an inch.
- Remove the air pump house and quickly close the safety valve. The non-return valve will stop the air coming out once the hose is removed.
- Check for any leaks before using.
To deflate you 3 person tow tube.
- Make sure the Airhead 3 Person Inflatable tube is fully dry. This will prevent mould growth.
- Full unscrew and remove the safety valve. Store it in a safe place. I actually tie it to the biscuit tube.
- Gently coax air out of the inflatable by pressing the opposite end of the inflatable until the Airhead G-Force is fully deflated.
- Fold up and store away. Don’t forget to store the air valve somewhere safe.
Frequently Asked Questions on tow behind tubes for boats.
Can a jet ski pull either the Airhead G-Force or O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable?
That depends on the maximum weight the jet ski can pull. For most jet skis yes easy, the power should not be a problem. Make sure to have an observer sitting on the back watching the riders. I have even seen the smaller Seadoo Sparks pull a 2 person tube.
Our Seadoo GTI 130hp can pull a 3 person tube easy. Jet Skis that are supercharged are an overkill as even normal aspirated wave runners will do the job with ease.
Is it easy to knock people off the Airhead or O’Brien tubes?
Depending on the athleticism of the individual on the raft and the speed at which the raft is being pulled, the answer can be both yes and no. Generally, the faster the rider goes, the more the raft gets whipped around—making it tougher to stay on the board!
The G-forces can be so extreme that you will be unable to hold on. Otherwise it a very stable tow tube that hugs the water very well.
Smaller children seem to be able to hold on betterer and longer due to their small body mass. I like the Airhead tube as it has those little inflatable wings sticking out that I can brace my foot or knee on to help with stability.
Can the Inflatable biscuit tubes double as a stationary floats?
These tubes aren’t meant for lounging. I like to have my riders laying low, chest in the middle of the tow tube, with the lower limbs hanging off back. It’s best used for speeding behind a fast moving jet ski or boat!
We have found that often our children love to tie the Airhead tube to the bank of the lake, river or to a stationary boat. This makes it easy for them to just lounge around on it or practice flips and jumps into the water.
Also, note that these are not personal recovery devices. Always use a life jacket when doing water sports in lakes or rivers.
Best 3 Person Towable Tubes for small children
We all remember our first time on the traditional Hot dog towable. My children still love it but as they start to get older they are wanting to get thrown around more. This is where the more donut shaped biscuit towables start to shine.
The large banana-shaped inflatable attached to a jet ski or boat works really well for small children. You will have to go really slow when taking sharp corners otherwise it can skip and flip over. But sometimes I think the kids love this.
This banana boat HD-3 inflatable can carry 3 people, so it fun when extras come along for a ride. I have tried it myself and the experience turned out to be really great—feeling the wind rush past, the uncertainty when we’d get knocked off the banana boat, and the collective shrieks of adrenaline the group shared when the jet ski would accelerate were just some of the things I found unique in the experience.
The only problem is you have to take the corners wide and sometimes slow. Otherwise, flips will occur. The trade-off is to go with a round lay down blowup biscuit like the Airhead. Fast corners are now possible. In fact, I have whipped my kids around so fast that the 3 person inflatable Airhead tube was in front of the Jetski. My wife didn’t like that so much.
Both the inflatable Airhead and OBrien 3 Person waterboards are great investments for thrill-seekers, either solo or in a group. The Airhead Gforce takes our pick as the most used and requested biscuit. This is in part to the shape and surface area able to fit more people on it.
The side wings also give each rider the ability to jam their knee into it to provide more stability in fast corners.
We have found that both will need to be pulled up at the start to stop the 3 person biscuit from becoming a submarine and duck diving under the water. Most inflatables will have this problem when going slow. Just instruct your riders at the start to pull up on the handles or shift their weight to the rear for the first 10 seconds and all will be fine.
Also, one last tip is to never let the tow rope go slack while whipping your tube around fast. The extra load on the rope, boat fittings, and tow tube can cause something to break when tension is regained. Happy boating.